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R E Shah
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In response to the original anon grad student. I have attended (I think) 3 IHS summer seminars and one of their weekend discussion groups (organised with the liberty fund). It was always great fun. On the 50th Anniversary dinner. I would not read too much into the naming of the sponsors. It is just marketing. For better or for worse a significant proportion of the donors rather like Ayn Rand (apparently more so than Adam Smith, something I find most unfortunate), calling them an Ayn Rand sponsor might incite them to give more. As for Morality, Capitalism and Freedom (bear in mind this is one of their introductory seminars). I have attended that seminar. There was only one lecture on Ayn Rand. The speaker gave what seemed to me (I have not read Ayn Rand) to be a fair but critical exposition of Ayn Rand's views on capitalism. Judging from the Q&A and discussions with other students I think most of the students thought Ayn Rand's views were problematic. Of course there was one or two guys (guys not girls) defending Ayn Rand but they were a significant minority and most other people found them irritating. During the social time the speaker told me he did not think much of Ayn Rand. At IHS's most advanced seminar someone asked a question along the lines of "Why haven't you mentioned Ayn Rand's defence of capitalism?" I cannot remember the speaker's answer but my interpretation of it was that it was a polite way of saying "Ayn Rand's crap". I also believe that the attitude of most of the other students in the room was "not another Randroid". As for the books. IHS gives many free books (seminar attendees get I think 4 free books). Atlas Shrugged (a work of fiction) is one of them. If you don't want to take it you don't have to (I don't take it). They also give books by Orwell and other non libertarians. I think IHS's attitude towards Ayn Rand is similar to Milton Friedman's (Friedman when asked what he thought of Rand replied "well, she brings people into the movement"). They do not "unabashedly endorse the work of Ayn Rand". On climate change. Yes, IHS does have people who do not believe in AGW as guest lecturers. A few points on that. Firstly, it is not necessarily the case that they will lecture of climate change. Secondly, in none of the seminars I have attended has there been a talk on climate change (nor do I recall seeing one advertised on their website). Thirdly, they also have Ronald Bailey as guest lecturer. You probably do not know about him but he is the science editor of Reason magazine (a libertarian monthly), he believes AGW is happening, has said so publicly in Reason magazine http://reason.com/archives/2005/08/11/were-all-global-warmers-now and he still works at Reason magazine (nor has he been ostracised from the libertarian movement). At seminars I have attended I have expressed the view that AGW was happening. Quite a few people agreed with me. I also said libertarians should stop trying to argue about the facts (unless they were actually qualified to do so), accept (if only for the sake of arguments) that AGW is happening and discuss the moral and policy implications of that. Again many people agreed. I would encourage you to apply.
Hi Tom, Thanks for your reply. Whenever I was using rights I was using it in the sense of Hohfeldian claim rights and not Hohfeldian liberties. I also agree with your resolution of the putative conflict I just don't think there was a conflict to resolve. Regarding your blocking sun light claim. Two possible resolutions: 1. To block the sun light the machine would probably need to be over my land. That would be trespass. At common law (and indeed under all legal systems) if I own land I own a reasonable amount of airspace above (so planes can fly over without it being trespass but if a crane passes over it would be trespass). I realise that this reply does not really go to heart of your point but I think the second one does. 2. The law of nuisance would cover those type of cases. It is based on having a right to peaceful enjoyment of one's property. That's different from a right to the value of thing. What exactly does peaceful enjoyment mean will vary by context and can't be resolved by engaging in philosophical argument. It very much depends of the social context in which it occurs (incidentally Ronald Coase develops the Coase Theorem by looking at how cases of nuisance were decided). Rajiv
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Tom, You say there is a conflict between the right of builder to build and the right "to the value of his property not being harmed by a grotesque house nearby". There is no conflict because your second putative right does not exist. This goes to the distinction between property and wealth. Property consists of the physical stuff. Wealth on the other hand is the (market) value of the physical stuff, it is the amount of money other individuals would be willing to pay for your physical stuff. Rights and duties are correlative. Saying you have a right to X means that others are under a duty not to interfere with your X-ing. So saying you have a right that the value of your property does not go down means that others are under a duty to buy (should you want to sell it) your property for its current value. That can't be right, they have the right to buy or not to buy whatever they want. Such a right would also mean that competition is not allowed. If I have a shop and sell some goods for £10 and you open a competing shop in which you sell it for £8. I would then have violated your right but this would mean that competition is not permissible. It also means no technological progress. If I sell something which does X and then you come up with an invention which is cheaper and does it better then my stuff becomes worthless. Having property rights (i.e. rights which protects the physical stuff) is necessary to have markets but having rights which protect wealth would make the operation of the market impossible (because markets constantly redistribute wealth) (See Myth 12 in https://www.montpelerin.org/montpelerin/members/documents/TomPalmer.pdf). Rajiv
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Welcome Victor :)
Toggle Commented May 30, 2011 on Welcome, Victor Tadros! at PEA Soup
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May 30, 2011